Gemstones – Understanding the Four C’s

Diamond are one of the world’s most valued natural resources, not to mention one of the most highly preferred gemstones. Diamond are naturally made having an enormous variety of characteristics, making every individual diamond unique. The many possible combos of these characteristics determine the overall high quality and value of a diamond. Realizing the need for an universal grading program, GIA, the Gemological Institute of America, regarded as the world’s looked upon institute of gemological research, developed the Four C’s. The Four C’s stand for Cut, Color, Clearness, and Carat Weight. This internationally accepted diamond grading system has revolutionized the diamond trade and today is used by nearly every professional in the market and diamond enthusiasts across the globe. Mainly because individual diamond vary so greatly in quality and price, it is vital for consumers to be familiar with the Four C’s as well. We’ve outlined the basic principles of this grading system below, to help give consumers the resources they have to make educated purchases.


The particular cut of a diamond may be probably the most important of the Four C’s, and may enhance the overall quality, value, plus beauty of that diamond. There are many different slashes, each having a specific effect on the next three attributes:

* Brightness : the amount of light the diamond shows

* Fire – the various shades of the spectrum that a diamond gives off

* Scintillation – the twinkle and brilliance that is produced any time a diamond is moved

In a well cut diamond, the light which enters through the table (the top smooth facet) and travels through to the particular pavilion is then reflected and dispersed through the crown, creating an attractive effect. Unfortunately, in a poorly cut diamond, some of the light leaks away the girdle, which dramatically decreases the diamond’s sparkle.

The quality of a diamond cut is based primarily on symmetry and polish, as well as the ratios of the table size, crown angle, and pavilion depth to one another. Generally, the more facets a diamond has, the more brilliance and sparkle it will have. However the depth of the pavilion also offers a huge impact on this. When the depth from the pavilion is either too much delete word enough, the light can be lost away the sides of the stone rather than being directed through the crown.

The brilliant round cut diamond is by far the most common of the diamond cuts, although many others are gaining popularity.
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The brilliant round cut was designed specifically for use upon diamond, and with it’s 57-58 nicely proportioned facets, it’s brilliance and sparkle is more noticeable than on most cuts. Yet with so many variations associated with diamond cuts, many combinations associated with proportions are possible, directly influencing the beauty of a diamond, and therefore furthermore the value.


Similar to the cut of a diamond, it’s color will possibly increase or decrease it’s sparkle and fire. Obviously, diamond with less color will reflect a lot more light than those with a light yellow or brown hue. This, together with the fact that nature provides us with less of these colorless diamond, makes it more valuable and sought after.

Once more seeing the need for an universal system, the GIA developed the diamond color grading scale, using the letters D-Z, which is most widely accepted today. Diamond are graded below very precise viewing conditions and often compared to diamond of a known colour grade to ensure very few differences in just a color grade. A diamond missing of color is grade ‘D’ and the more color that is found in the diamond, the further along the alphabet it’s grade travels. Gemstone with grade ‘Z’ will have a light yellow or brown tint, and so will not reflect light as well as a colorless diamond. Fancy colored diamond, although most are irradiated and color enhanced, do not follow this grading level, and often are more valuable because when naturally colored they are extremely rare.

The most common color grades are G through I, as they are more rich in nature, and much more affordable. Although diamond of these grades do have a hint of color, it generally is not visible to the naked and unaccustomed eye. Likewise, diamond graded J through M may have a very weak hue of yellow, but with the right jewelry piece and diamond reduce, the color may look less obvious (although it barely is to begin with). White gold or platinum settings usually require higher grade diamond, whereas a yellow gold environment takes away from the yellow tint of the lower grade diamond.

Most company use the GIA Diamond Color Grading Scale [out], and it’s suggested for customers to do the same to better understand the subtle differences in color a diamond may have, and to better assess the quality and value of a diamond.


According to the GIA, “diamond clarity describes the absence of internal inclusions or even external blemishes. ” Of all diamond characteristics, clarity may be the one with the greatest impact on a diamond’s worth, since flawless diamond are so rare. Natural diamond are created deep within the earth under extreme pressure, therefore it is not surprising that nearly all diamond possess minor flaws. There are two sorts of flaws – blemishes and blemishes. Blemishes are external flaws found on the surface of a diamond, and include potato chips, nicks, and scratches, most of which occur during the cutting process. Blemishes are internal flaws such as pockets, cracks, or other minerals within the center of the diamond.

GIA created an universal diamond clarity grading scale consisting of 11 grades. Diamond are graded under 10x magnifying, so most of the flaws that impact the clarity grade are barely noticeable to the naked eye. In addition to the amount, size, and severity of the blemishes, the position and color of the the inclusion are also considered when grading the clarity of a diamond. Since no two diamond are alike, the characteristics of a diamond and it’s blemishes make it entirely unique, and are sometimes used, like fingerprints, to identify person diamond.

The most rare clarity marks are F or FL (flawless) and IF (internally flawless), diamond of these grades are much more valuable simply because they do not occur as often in nature. The next best clarity grades are usually VVS (very, very slightly included) and VS (very slightly included). These diamond are more common and sought after because they are more affordable than perfect diamond yet still have very small inclusions, most of which can only be seen under magnification by a skilled grader. Likely the most common clarity grade can be SI (slightly included). Diamond of the clarity are still considered “eye-clean” and provide an inexpensive alternative. The lowest clarity grade, I (imperfect), has more noticeable blemishes which may affect the brilliance of the diamond.

GIA defines their clarity grading scale as follows:

* Flawless (FL)

No inclusions or blemishes are visible to a skilled grader making use of 10x magnification

* Internally Perfect (IF)

No inclusions and only small blemishes are visible to a competent grader using 10x magnification

* Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2)

Inclusions are hard for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification

* Very Somewhat Included (VS1 and VS2)

Inclusions are clearly visible under 10x magnification but can be characterized as minor

* Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2)

Inclusions are visible to a skilled grader using 10x magnification

* Imperfect (I1, I2, and I3)

Inclusions are apparent under 10x magnification and may have an effect on transparency and brilliance

Carat Bodyweight

The weight of a diamond is assessed in carats, with one carat equaling 200 milligrams or a fifth gram. You may also hear the term “points” used when speaking of diamond bodyweight. One carat is divided upward into 100 points, so the 1/4 carat diamond would be referred to as a ’25 point diamond. ‘

Although carat weight is also utilized to measure gemstones, it is slightly more complicated, since gemstone types may have different densities. Because of this, a round 6mm Alexandrite may have a carat weight of 1. 30ct whereas a circular 6mm Citrine may only become 0. 70ct.

When written, carat is usually abbreviated as ‘ct. ‘ In a jewelry piece with many diamond, the abbreviation used is ‘ct TW’ meaning carat overall weight (the sum of the carat weights for each diamond), although gowns usually shortened to ‘ctw. ‘ The value of such a jewelry piece might be less than the value of a similar item of the same carat weight with only 1 diamond. Diamond solitaires are much more rare, and therefore, a 1ct Gemstone Solitaire ring will be worth much more than a similar 1ctw ring with many smaller diamond.